PINEHURST, N.C. – If anyone would have a good perspective on the show Martin Kaymer put on at Pinehurst, it’s Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy was the last player to go wire-to-wire at the U.S. Open, winning in 2011 by eight shots. According to the Ulsterman, his run at Congressional might take a backseat to Kaymer’s performance this week.
“I’m wondering how he did it,” said McIlroy, who closed with a 3-over 73 in the final round. “It’s tough. I think I’ve made a total of nine birdies this week. It’s like – it’s just, I don’t see any more out there.
“Obviously, if you limit the mistakes, you might end up a couple under par for the week … but to do what he’s doing, I think it’s nearly more impressive than what I did at Congressional.”
McIlroy began the third round in a tie for 10th but failed to capitalize on his early position, going 74-73 over the weekend to finish in a tie for 23rd. While the finish extended his streak of top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour – he is now 10 for 10 this season – it left him second-guessing some of his course-management decisions.
“Strategy-wise, just need to be a little bit better,” McIlroy said. “It’s just a matter of just putting your ball in the right places here and not letting one hole turn into two, turn into three, that sort of thing.”
Having won his U.S. Open title at 16 under par, you might expect McIlroy to prefer his USGA layouts with soft conditions and low scores in mind. Guess again.
“I’m looking forward to coming back and playing a U.S. Open in tough conditions again and firm conditions, because that’s the only way that you’re going to learn how to play it is experience,” McIlroy said. “So hopefully we get similar conditions next year up in [Washington].”